Splitting Time

Inquiry-based learning: Time

In this resource, we're going to spark creativity by taking a deep dive into the theme of time.

Use this resource as creative stimulus to make your own films, videogames or animations.

Year levels: 3 - 10

Subjects: Humanities, maths, science, technologies, English, the arts, critical and creative thinking

Get started with the theme: Time

Tick tock...

Let's get our brains working around the theme of time.

It's a great idea to take notes in your production journal so you remember anything that inspires you.

Activity: what words or phrases do we associate with time?
1 Thinking of the theme of time, brainstorm some words or phrases that come to mind.
2 If you're in a group or classroom, start privately, then share your thoughts.
3 You could group the words and phrases under different themes.

Watching the clock

The study of timekeeping is called horology.

Explore the list of watch and clock terms from the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and watch the following video:

Telling stories about time

In the next activity, you're going to read some questions about time.

After you read the question, you're going to invent an answer.

You can choose - do you want your reader to believe you? If so, make sure you've got lots of details. Maybe you just want your reader to be entertained: you might come up with a crazy, weird, wonderful or spooky explanation.

After you've done all your imagined answers, head into research land, and find out the truthful answer.

Question Imagined answer Researched answer
1 Why are there 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day?
2 Who is Countess Koscowicz, and what does she have to do with watches?
3 How long is one day on other planets? What would our lives be like if we lived there?

Perspectives on time

Discuss these quotes about time. Do you agree with the statements they make?

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

Leo Tolstoy

No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.

Mary Kay Ash

The time is always right to do what is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


As you work through the modules, keep a journal of things that inspire you.

For this module, choose the following and add them into your journal:

Three pictures of interesting things that you found during your research
Two things you learned that surprised you
One thing that you think you could turn into a story


You have completed Module 1. Next up, the history of timekeeping.

A history of timekeeping

Did you know that humans have been measuring time for at least 30,000 years?

We started looking at the stars to help with farming, travel and organising ourselves. Inventions for measuring time started to pop up around 3000 BC, with sundials (also known as shadow clocks) appearing around 1500BC. Devices varied from place to place, as did the method of measuring time itself.

Watch the great video (above) from The British Museum about the history of time and clocks. What new things did you learn?


History is full of inspiration.

Research some of the devices that have been used to measure time throughout history.

You could start with this website from The University of Cambridge.

Make a time device!

Design and make your own time measurement device.

Choose one of the following amazing inventions and learn how to make it.

Water clock

Use your inspiration

Imagine you are the first person ever to discover the time device you made.

Plan or film a video diary explaining what it is, and predicting what might happen next.
Plan or make an animation that explores how this device works and how and why it was used.
Plan or code a videogame where one of the above devices counts down your time to complete a level.


Write a short summary in your journal of what you discovered about the history of time, and anything you learned that inspired you.

I used to think...
Now I think...
Some ideas I could use in my own project are...


You have completed Module 2. Time to take a look at Module 3.

The science of time


Chronometry is the scientific term for accurate time measurement, and refers to the study of modern electronic time keeping devices.

These include electric clocks, watches, and the most accurate time keeping devices of all – atomic clocks.

Watch & learn

Learn about the importance of precision when it comes to keeping time from watchmakers themselves in the short video above, and then consider the following questions with a friend or in your journal.

1 What does it mean when something runs "like clockwork"?
2 What things/activities in the world run like clockwork?
3 Do you know anyone who runs their schedule like clockwork?

Leaps in time

Learn about the evolution of measuring time by watching this video on ABC Splash, and answer the following questions in your journal:

1 What is a leap second?
2 Do you know of any other "leap" measurements?

Space & time

Time and its relationship with space and distance is also an interesting topic to explore.

For example, when we measure vast distances in space we often refer to lightyears, and it has been proven that gravity can distort the passing of time.

This means that people at the top of a tall building will age slightly faster than people on the ground. Amazing!

Read this article to find out more:

"Time passes faster the higher you are."

Measuring time in space

Are you interested in the concept of light years? Then try this 'Time Traveller' activity from the Museum of Victoria.

Use your inspiration

Imagine that scientists decide to add the leap second to every clock in the world, but one very important computer crashes

Plan or make:

a) a film or animation that explores what happens next
b) a game where you have to fix the computer.


Had you ever considered the science of time before?

In your journal, pick one thing you learned from this module and answer the following questions:

1 What was it?
2 What did you think before?
3 Can you imagine a way you could include it in a film, animation or videogame?


You have completed Module 3. Time to take a look at Module 4...

Time and the moving image


Did you know that film and animation emerged from optical illusion toys like flipbooks?

This is because they all work in a similar way. Just like flipbooks, films, animation and games are not actually moving images. In fact, they are made up of a series of images shown very quickly. In most films, we see about 24 images per second, and in really high definition films (like The Hobbit), our eyes are seeing 48 images every second! This is what is known as the frame rate, and we refer to it as 24 frames per second or 24 fps.

Timing is very important for all of these technologies to work properly.

For example, if you have ever made a flipbook, you might already know that if you flip the pages too slowly, you won’t get the illusion of movement, and if you flip it too quickly, your eye won’t even be able to see what’s happening.

This module will explore the importance of timing in making any type of moving image.


Use this interactive activity to experiment with frame rates and motion blur.

1 What happens when you increase and decrease the frame rate?
2 What happens when you increase and decrease the motion blur?
3 Why do you think Peter Jackson is excited about moving to higher frame rates?

If you liked this activity, check out this article from Gizmodo ‘Why Frame Rate Matters’.

Make an optical illusion toy!

Create your own optical illusion toy and experiment with timing.

Try making one (or all) of these!

Make a 60 second film!

Filmmakers, animators and game makers use a variety of narrative and visual techniques to represent or create the sensation, perception or transition of time.

Now it's your turn!

Create your own film to represent part of your life in a minute.


In your journal, answer the following questions

1 Why is frame rate important?
2 What is the difference between film time and life time (or as we call it in the biz, reel time and real time)?
3 Was there anything in this module that inspired you for your own project?


You have completed this module. The next module is all about time zones.

Time zones

Time zones

Did you know there are three different time zones in Australia, and 24 different time zones in the world?

Watch this video to learn more about the history of time zones.


After watching the video, consider the following questions in your journal or with a friend.

1 Why are time zones important?
2 What is the name of the place and country that all time is worked out from? Why is that the place when days start in New Zealand?
3 Why do some people in South Australia want their time zone changed? Why do others not want it to change?

Test your knowledge and understanding of time zones with the Night and Day quiz.

Daylight savings propaganda

Debate it!

In Australia, most states and territories turn the clocks forward by one hour in summer. This means that when the days get longer, we get more light at the end of the day, rather than waking up to sunshine at 5am. This is called daylight-saving time.

There are three places in Australia that don't use daylight-saving time: Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Research the debate on the pros and cons of daylight-saving and conduct a debate on the issue, with your classmates or a group of friends.

You might want to play different characters, like a farmer, a politician, a parent, an athlete etc. Think about what each of them might be most worried about.

Daylight savings anti propaganda

Use your inspiration!

An important part of making a film, animation or game is to think about the characters involved, and what they want.

Imagine you are one of the characters in the debate on daylight-saving, and consider the following.

1 What is my normal routine?
2 What is my top priority?
3 How would daylight-saving impact my life?
4 What could go wrong if I don't get my way?
5 Film or animate a video diary from the perspective of one of these characters, or plan a game where one of these characters is the avatar.


In your journal, record anything new or inspiring that you learned in this module. You might like to use the following exercise:

See What did you see in this module? Was there anything that made you imagine a picture clearly in your head?
Like Did anything in this module excite you? Did you get any interesting ideas?
Wonder Did you wonder about anything in this module? Did you imagine how something could be different?


You have completed Module 5.